Business Politics

Opposition warns of undoing ‘corrupt’ land sales

The opposition alliance has warned potential buyers of land put up for sale by the government that corrupt transactions will be annulled by future administrations.

The housing ministry is planning to auction 19 plots of land in Malé ranging from 4,000 to 7,7000 square feet with bidding to start at MVR15,000 (US$973) per square foot.

The government is expected to earn at least MVR792 million (US$51 million).

In a joint statement issued Thursday, the four-party opposition coalition called the auction “illegal and invalid” and promised to “revoke sales and return the properties” to the public.

“The planned sale of the 19 plots of land in Malé will cause irreversible damages,” the alliance warned.

“[President Abdulla] Yameen himself has confessed involvement in crimes committed by state. Hastily selling 19 plot of lands in Malé while these accusations stand would be to rob the people of their property, their sense of safety of land and is exploiting their financial capability.”

The nine-day period for potential buyers to submit proposals was also “a sign of insincerity,” the statement added.

Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz meanwhile defended the planned land sale on Twitter last week.

“We are selling land in Malé to enrich the public treasury to carry out [projects] that will be valuable and beneficial for the public, within legal bounds,” he said.

But the opposition contended that the government is trying to plug revenue shortfalls and pay civil service salaries after incurring massive debts.

“The sale of these nine properties hurriedly and without due planning will further the problems of high rent, overpopulation and social problems in a city that is already home to a third of its country’s population,” the opposition warned.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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